Canadiens power play has been brutal â€” even comically bad
|Montreal Gazette 11 Jan 2019 at 16:53|
Canadiens centre Max Domi takes a hit from Wild defenceman Greg Pateryn this week. Montreal GM Marc Bergevin says one of the reasons his team s power play has been so poor is that his players are being outworked. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette
The Canadiens work on it before practice, during practice and sometimes even after practice. But their power play still isnâ€™t working.
Brendan Gallagher did score a power-play goal in Thursday nightâ€™s 4-1 loss to the Blues in St. Louis, but the Canadiens are now 1-for-17 with the man advantage in the last six games and rank last in the NHL with a 12.8 per cent success rate. The Canadiens also gave up a short-handed goal to the Blues.
In a word, the power play has been brutal â€” even comically bad â€” and if it doesnâ€™t improve the Canadiens probably arenâ€™t going to make the playoffs.
Claude Julien has delegated the power play to associate coach Kirk Muller â€” with help from assistant Dominique Ducharme â€” but you have to wonder at what point the head coach takes over. Or maybe Julien calls former head coach Guy Carbonneau â€” now an analyst with RDS â€” to see if he has any ideas. During Carbonneauâ€™s two full seasons as coach of the Canadiens, they had the best power play in the NHL, clicking at 22.8 per cent in 2006-07 and 24.1 per cent in 2007-08.
When Marc Bergevin spoke with TSN 690 Radioâ€™s Dan Robertson and Sergio Momesso before Friday nightâ€™s game, the general manager placed the power-play blame on the players, not the coaching staff. The GM also said the power play was the biggest disappointment during the first half of the season.
â€śItâ€™s been a struggle all year,â€ť Bergevin said. â€śWe do have the personnel that I believe could make it work, but right now theyâ€™re searching, forcing plays, not taking what they give you. Remember, weâ€™re five, theyâ€™re four. The guys that kill penalties are workers and sometimes I feel like weâ€™re getting outworked on the power play and thatâ€™s just whatâ€™s happening. Again, it definitely needs to be better.â€ť
After Thursdayâ€™s game, Julien said the power-play problems were the result of a lack of pace and work ethic. He even put out the fourth line at the end of one power play â€” obviously looking to make a point â€” and they looked better than the regular units.
When Bergevin was asked on TSN 690 if he might look to make a trade to help the power play, the GM said: â€śIf you look at the personnel we have now, they should be good enough to have a good power play. Night in and night out you got (Jonathan) Drouin, (Max) Domi, (Jeff) Petry, Weby ( Shea Weber ). You got (Tomas) Tatar, you got KK (Jesperi Kotkaniemi). You got a lot of guys that should be making our power play work. Again, Iâ€™m always going to look to make the team better. But to say that Iâ€™m going to go grab somebody thatâ€™s going to make it work, if you donâ€™t outwork the other team on the power play it doesnâ€™t matter whoâ€™s out there. So I think itâ€™s within our team. I believe we have to get better.â€ť